How I sent my first 12a in a day


So about a week ago I sent my first 12a in a day. This is an improvement from my previous sending of 12s which were all more than a day’s work. Generally, what I feel about this is that maybe I found a good route for myself but also I figured out things that I can do to improve my chances of sending in the first day.

So here’s the situation:

Went up with my buddy John who was psyched on a climb called Tetris. It was a brisk day but we saw the sun come in and conditions were near perfect at the time we were climbing. We talked about the beta and generally just worked out all the tricky sections on the warm up. I figured out how to do the beta my own way and John seemed content with the beta he had been working out on it too.

On the way down from my first, warm up burn, I tried the sections a few more times just to be really ready to know what to do. I figured out what had to happen in each sequence to be able to climb it the proper way with the least amount of effort for me. Honestly, I basically just tried the sequences again, found the key holds and prayed I’d be able to do it when pumped.

Second go comes around, and I get on it. I fixed more beta on the way up, even finding a way to statically move off a move I thought would have to be a dynamic move. I got to the first crux and eased through it. Second crux went well and continued into the rest.

I rested for a bit knowing that I needed to get it all back to do the end. The end was a techy and reachy finishi which may throw me off. I knew the worst case was falling but I wasn’t going to half ass it.

I reached up for the high two finger off the heel hook and grabed it, moving to an undercling. I did my original beta and moved through the move quickly and got to the jug. Clipped the chains and lowered. I felt great.

I thought about what happened a bit after the climb as a I was happy but also confused. The climb seemed easy. I had it dialed second go. What happened? I basically worked it out to several key points that I think helped me project this route in a day.

Low expectations, low stress

I basically went into it with low expectations as I knew that I don’t usually send things quickly. I usually have to work hard and do more because it seems like I still have some blocks missing in skill pyramid. However, ridding myself of expectation really helped as I didn’t need to think of worse case scenarios. I was out climbing with a friend and that was peaches. Didn’t need to send to have fun.

Working with other people’s beta

Obviously this helped a ton. After seeing John try it, I was convinced I could do all the moves and find the strength to do it also. However, I didn’t just rely blindly on beta and worked sections out for myself as I knew there may be better ways to do it. Obviously, we both adapted elements of each other’s climbing but ultimately sent it using our own way.

Rehearsing the cruxes a few times

As I lowered, I got back on to feel holds and try the cruxes again just to make sure. I think this really helped as I hadn’t been able to link a few sections on the first go upwards. Linking them really helped show me I could do it. You don’t need to physically pull on but just even look at where the holds are and touch them. That can help a lot. dd

Resting when you can

I don’t think I could have sent this climb without taking full advantage of the shakes and rests on the route. Perhaps this plays to my strength as I know that total enduro type climbs are hard for me. This was a good mix of cruxy and hard and endurance and I was able to shake out at the right times

Rest, eating and water

I ate a bit, drank some water and was well rested on my second go. Nothing says “I don’t want this,” more than just getting right back on it after falling at the top and being torched only to try it again without any real thought. I’ve heard a 5-1 or 2-1 ratio of rest to climbing is ideal for sending.

Believing it can happen

Finally, I thought I may be able to pull it off. And I did. Stop saying you can’t do something and just do it!

Walking down that day was a huge relief. A relief that I’m not wasting my time and actually getting better. Perhaps all the bouldering I’ve been doing has helped. Maybe being fit from the summer helps. Who knows? I’m glad I put myself to work and tried.

If y’all got some tips feel free to comment.

Fire that rig,



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